Beloved across the world by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, Pope Francis has broken the mold of papal policy when it comes to contraception (among other things). Before his arrival, though, the Vatican's stance on family-planning methods — including the use of condoms — was insanely regressive.
In fact, during his first trip to Africa in 2009, Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, sent waves through international health organizations when he said that
condoms could effectively worsen the country's HIV crisis. (The pontiff later clarified his stance, saying that in "certain cases" they were acceptable to use.) Visual Artist Niki Johnson decided to use Pope Benedict's statements as a jumping-off point to broaden the conversation about prophylactic use.
The result? A near-300-pound, cross-stitch-style papal portrait — constructed almost entirely from latex rubbers. "Eggs Benedict" is intended to speak to the heart of anti-condom attitudes, as well as provide starting point for conversation about prophylactic use. "Let's talk about sex. Let's talk about self-love. It's time," Johnson told Refinery29. We couldn't agree with her more: Click through to see the work in more detail and learn more about what it took to bring it to fruition.